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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record

Slavery: A Year Long Remembrance

Friday, 23 August 2013, New York | Department of Public Information

Today we commemorate the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition. The date of this UNESCO Observance was chosen as a tribute to the uprising which took place on 22-23 August 1791, when slaves in Saint Domingue, today Haiti, launched an insurrection which ultimately led to the Haitian revolution. This is one of three key commemorations the United Nations supports throughout the year.

 On 2 December, is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

Finally, 25 March is the International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade which has an associated year-long educational outreach programme. The 25 March and 23 August international days are complementary.

There will be a number of events taking place over the coming weeks in connection with the ongoing work the United Nations does in this important area.

On Wednesday 28 August, UN pass holders in New York are invited to a film screening at 6:15 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium. The event will be hosted by the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations in association with the Department of Public Information. The film, “Akwantu: the Journey” tells the story of one of the world's most fascinating cultures and historically important people – the Maroons. The Director of the film Mr. Roy T. Anderson will be present and taking part in a discussion following the screening. Space is limited and interested staff members should send an email to to be added to the guest list.

Next week, the International Competition for the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at UN Headquarters - which was launched in 2011 - reaches the final stages of the judging process. More than 300 designs were submitted, from which a review panel selected 16. An international panel of independent judges then narrowed down the list to seven finalists.

The International Panel of Judges and the seven finalists will be in New York for the final evaluation next week, with the winning design to be announced on 23 September at an unveiling ceremony in the presence of the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, UNESCO Director-General, the Prime Minister of Jamaica and other Heads of State or Governments. UNTV colleagues will be producing a video featuring the seven finalists and their work which will be shared with the UN community.

The film screening and work to encourage the remembrance of those who were the victims of the transatlantic slave trade is part of the ongoing Remember Slavery outreach programme managed by the Department of Public Information’s Outreach Division. Keep up to date via Twitter (@rememberslavery) and Facebook.